The BDA reveals 16 projects that have made the best and most innovative use of brick in architecture this year - and scooped accolades in 18 categories in the process
The Brick Development Association's Brick Awards celebrate the world’s greatest brick architecture and craftsmanship.
Every year the competition welcomes hundreds of projects across 18 categories, entered by the world’s leading architects, specialist contractors and developers. Four of the awards are judged and voted for independently: Supreme, Sustainability, Architects' Choice and Contractors' Choice.
The 2023 winners were announced at the Brick Awards ceremony on 8 November 2023 at London's Royal Lancaster Hotel.
Supreme Winner/Sustainablity/Craftsmanship: Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, Shrophsire
Putting a 225-year-old grade I listed building ‘back to work' after 30 years of dereliction required comprehensive repair, retrofitting and bold insertions to safeguard the next 100 years. The pyramidal Malt Kiln is re-purposed as a dramatic new entrance and vertical circulation providing level access to upper floors. The decision not to heat this circulation space is emblematic of a project striving towards a circular economy.
Daylighting and overheating analysis determined the need to re-open 110 former windows and the specification for solar glazing and a free area for natural ventilation. Exposing masonry jack arches and installing ventilators over new internal glazed partitions creates a comfortable working environment while retaining the open historic character.
The project team repaired, reused and retrofitted driven by long life, loose fit design principles. The fixed budget and high aspirations for sustainability and design quality called for collaboration across the team to achieve this exemplar of adaptive re-use.
The judges said: 'The creation and application of new brickwork into this existing building is a highly executed example of craftmanship. The heritage skills programme and light touch conservation approach as a mechanism to repair and convert this internationally important building is an accomplishment.'
Commended in the Craftsmanship category: Kensington Palace Orangery.
Architects' Choice: Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, Liverpool
The Yoko Ono Lennon Centre is a unique teaching and performance building at the University of Liverpool. It has been designed by Liverpool School of Architecture graduates based at UK architecture practice Ellis Williams.
The new facility includes The Tung Auditorium - a world class music performance space - together with two large lecture theatres, seminar rooms, cafe space, a public facing linear park and a new outdoor space for the university. With a floor area totalling around 6,500 square metres the building was planned around a careful understanding of the site and an innovative response to a challenging brief (and budget).
The lecture theatres were arranged vertically, which allowed for a much smaller building footprint - freeing up the site to deliver a linear public park alongside the main arterial route adjacent to the south elevation (Grove Street). This also allowed for the large volume and height of Tung Auditorium to be placed adjacent to the teaching spaces, separated by the main atrium circulation space.
The judges said: 'A bold design choice to stack theatres and acoustically separate them, to give back external spaces to the surroundings. A very impressive building on all levels.'
Individual Housing Development: The Red House, Dorset
The Red House, a contemporary new home in rural Dorset designed by David Kohn Architects, was named RIBA House of the Year in 2022. The jury observed how 'the house’s playful eccentricity, including oversized eaves, patterned red brickwork and contrasting bold green details, jump out - but this is consistently underpinned by outstanding craftsmanship and attention to detail'.
In naming the Red House, the architects sought to unashamedly tie the house to a story about English domestic architecture that stretches back to Hermann Muthesius’ 1904 book ‘Das Englische Haus’ and beyond. Muthesius called architect Philip Webb’s 1860 brick masterpiece, Red House, ‘the very first example in the history of the modern house’. It was both pre-occupied with vernacular traditions of house building, while also unifying the plan and use of the house through ‘material, colour and mass’. The abundant use of red brick was quite shocking in the Victorian period.
The judges said: 'A delightful and unexpected take on Philip Webb's Red House of 1860 that abounds with fun and unexpected details. Wherever you turn you are met with a joyful and unique view, but the house is also immensely practical and robustly detailed.'
Commended: Manber Jeffries House, Willesden Green, London.
Click the slideshow and link below to see the rest of the award winners.